MVHO case manager Stephen loves what he is doing, and we do too! When asked why he converted a big part of his small-ish office to a gym for the tenants, Stephen said he wanted to get the guys out of their apartments and give them something to do. There was funding available to purchase a basketball hoop for the parking lot but nothing more. With cold weather on the way, Stephen started wondering what he could do inside this MVHO permanent supportive housing site for eleven men. He wanted the men to be more active. “I thought I’d use myself as an example. I am losing weight by exercising, packing lunch, and eating healthier. I tell the guys that you can change things if you want to,” said Stephen. “I brought in exercise equipment and a football from home, and my mom donated the exercise bike.”
Bill, a tenant, said he likes talking to Stephen because he’s always available to help him with things like finding employment. Bill was standing inside Stephen’s office with a beautiful blue-colored bird perched on his finger. Bill gently handed the bird to Stephen and offered his thanks for the experience. Stephen loves animals and history, and he brought Cicero, a Quaker Parrot, from home to show the tenants. “I’m always trying new ideas to get the guys involved.” Stephen’s next step is to install shelves in the hallway for a shared library for books and movies.
Stephen wants to upgrade and add to the current exercise equipment, but this is a part of his bigger plan to offer more tenant engagement opportunities. “I don’t want them to sit inside on the couch all day. I want them to have activities that improve their well-being and mental health. I want to take the guys to offsite activities, but I don’t have the means for transporting more than a couple of men at a time.” His plans for next spring include adding patio furniture and a raised garden to grow tomatoes, green beans, and cucumbers. Bill said he is looking forward to helping with planting the vegetable garden, and he wants to add carrots, too! Because of Stephen’s dedication as a case manager, the tenants have more options to live a healthier lifestyle. It’s working out at MVHO!
MVHO needs a passenger van to transport the tenants to activities. If you or anyone you know would like to donate a van, exercise equipment, or make a monetary donation, contact Rebecca DeLong, 937-263-4449 ext. 415 or https://mvho.org/donate/